- TOWIE star Chloe Lewis has shared an Instagram post of her body, two weeks after giving birth to son Beau Lewis Flasher
- The 28-year-old is crediting Reformer Pilates for helping her to ‘bounce back’
- While fans say she ‘looks great,’ many are reminding others that there should be zero pressure to lose any weight gained during pregnancy
TOWIE star Chloe Lewis has taken to Instagram to share a snap of her midriff – two weeks after giving birth.
The 28-year-old, who welcomed baby Beau Lewis Flasher into the world with banker boyfriend Danny Flasher in October, posted a candid bathroom snap to the platform, crediting Reformer Pilates training during pregnancy for helping her to ‘bounce back.’
‘It’s just MAGICAL how you can grow a perfect little human inside of you… they arrive & it’s as if they have been here forever 👶🏼💙,’ wrote the reality star in the image’s caption.
‘ #2weekspostpartum (Big thank you to @zerogravitypilates for helping my bod bounce back with all the training I did before & while pregnant).’
While fans were quick to say that she ‘looks great,’ others were keen to caution that no one should feel pressure to lose any pregnancy weight – especially soon soon after having a baby.
One wrote: ‘Ladies please don’t be demoralised if your body doesn’t bounce back like this. It takes 9 months to grow a baby so don’t be disheartened if it takes time to lose the baby weight.’
Weight loss after pregnancy and why influencers are ‘snapping back’
Lewis is not the only influencer that appears to have ‘snapped back,’ to coin a phrase, after giving birth.
Take @Sarahs_Day who posted pictures of herself with enviable abs just 11 days after sharing one of her and newborn snuggling on the maternity ward. (She also mentioned that she lost 8kg of the 10kg she gained during pregnancy in five days).
And PT Carly Rowena, who shared this pretty impressive four-weeks postpartum pic. ‘I remember stepping on the scales at the hospital mid contraction to see that I’d popped on 13kg during my pregnancy, only to step back on 39 hours later to see I’d lost 11kg once our little girl had been born,’ she says.
But how realistic are these posts?
According to the NHS, the average woman gains 10-12.5kg (22-26lb) during pregnancy and, if healthy weight-loss standards are heeded (ie to lose no more than 1.5lb per week), that should take around 15-20 weeks to lose. But who would (or should) be counting?
After all, surely those first few days and weeks with baby are to be enjoyed, not spent scale-watching or competing with #postpartumbody posts on Instagram.
So, what’s the answer? Are these women on Instagram superhuman? What’s the secret to ‘snapping back’? Can you lay foundations before and during your pregnancy? Or are they simply painting a false picture of reality?
We quizzed the experts – and the influencers – to find out the truth behind why women on Instagram are seemingly ‘snapping back’ weeks after giving birth.
Why do Women Gain Weight During Pregnancy?
First up, it’s helpful to know why women gain weight during pregnancy.
There’s the obvious – you’re harbouring a little human inside your belly so, yes, some of the weight will be the growing baby.
But, also, your body will be storing fat in preparation for making milk after your baby is born, and there’s extra fluid to support circulation, the placenta and amniotic fluid. This is partly why most of the weight gained during pregnancy occurs after week 20.
Weight gain is therefore an important – and natural – part of any pregnancy. Gain too little – or, equally, too much – and you could be putting yourself and your unborn baby at risk of health problems. That’s why following guidelines such as those above from the NHS, and listening to your pregnancy care professionals, is crucial.
Why do Some Women Lose Weight after Giving Birth More Quickly than Others?
Why do some women lose weight more quickly in general? We’re all different, that’s why.
Factors such as the delivery method, associated complications, whether you’re breastfeeding (FYI, this can burn 200-500 extra calories per day) plus stress, diet, support networks, and the number of Chinese takeaways / chocolate-stocking corner shops within walking distance of your home all play their part in determining postpartum weight-loss.
And genetics. ‘If you found it difficult to keep your weight down pre-pregnancy, it is more likely that it will take a little longer to lose the weight post pregnancy, too,’ says Charlie Launder, founder of Bumps & Burpees. ‘Your genetics play a part in how quickly your uterus and other organs shrink back after giving birth and there is nothing you can do to speed this up – unfortunately.
Your genetics don’t change just because you have had a baby so remember that when following other mums on Instagram and take a look at what they looked like before becoming pregnant.
There are very slim women who don’t necessarily lead a healthy lifestyle at all and who seem to “snap back” after birth – this that is just their genetics at play and how their body reacts to pregnancy.’
One thing that is certain, though – losing weight too quickly after giving birth can be disadvantageous. It can reduce the quantity of milk you produce, or limit the nutrients your breast milk contains, for starters, and, potentially leave you with less energy, at a time when you need it most.
‘Mothers should use the postpartum time to fill their body with the nutrients it needs to rebuild after delivery and to make high-quality milk for their newborn,’ says consultant paediatrician, Dr Tamara Bugembe. ‘This is a crucial time for baby brain development as new connections are being formed so the content and quality of breast milk is vital.
The average women will be 5kg heavier than their pre-pregnancy weight six months after their baby is born. Midwives generally recommend most mothers start working towards losing weight at three months postpartum with the aim of being at their pre-pregnancy weight at 12 months.’
What Role does Exercise During Pregnancy have on Postpartum Weight Loss?
‘Exercise is my career and my passion, so I knew I was going to continue moving during my pregnancy even though I didn’t always feel like it,’ says Rowena. ‘And I received a lot of backlash because of it.
I continued to walk my dog for an hour every day and went to my local CrossFit box 3-5 times a week, gradually reducing the intensity to 75% and removing ab-based or impact/plyometric movements.
Exercise for me has never been about weight or size but about mental health and living a comfortable long life, however I am so thankful that I continued with exercise during my pregnancy as it’s made getting back to normality so much easier now, she’s here.’
#disclaimer. 75% is pretty intense; other trainers recommend reducing the intensity to 60-70% of your previous sessions and continuing to make adjustments and intensity reductions – plus taking more rest between sets – as you get further into your trimesters.
It’s not only Rowena who champions exercise throughout pregnancy.
Dr Bugembe lists the pros:
- It helps with weight loss
- It improves sleep
- It helps balance mood
- It reduces the risk of postnatal depression
Yes, weight loss. ‘Those women who train before and during pregnancy, maintaining an adequate level of muscle mass, won’t have just lost it all in the recovery weeks after having a baby,’ says Launder.
‘This increased muscle mass will not only provide them with a heightened metabolism, helping somewhat with weight loss, but it will also make it easier to get back into training when they do return to it, due to their increased body awareness and general ability to use their muscles to support their postpartum body.’
Staying active through pregnancy also gears you up for the marathon that is childbirth – and the time thereafter. ‘Exercising throughout pregnancy will provide you with energy, strength and endurance,’ adds Rosie Stockley, PT and founder of postnatal fitness method MAMAWELL.
‘It is not advised to start something new, so stick to doing what you know and love. The intensity of your training has no bearing on how fast you “bounce back” (if that is your goal, which for many women it is not). High intensity training can actually be hugely detrimental if done in the wrong way, negatively impacting the pelvic floor.’
How Realistic is it to ‘Snap Back’ after Giving Birth – Like on Social?
You’ve guessed it. Like with other weight loss / body transformation pics, what you see on social media is often a filtered view of the norm.
‘In general, social media is not an accurate portrayal of real life, and I think it’s really important to observe any images taking this into account,’ says Stockley.
‘Celebrities who feel motivated by their bodies to look a certain way often pay for surgery when they have their baby delivered, which is not realistic for most women – or advised. The body adapts for nine months to carry and birth the baby and needs time to return to its prior condition.’
Indeed, according to Aroosha Nekonam, Personal Trainer at Ultimate Performance, the uterus alone takes six weeks to shrink back down after birth. Then there are the enlarged breasts, varicose and other changes the body goes through. ‘Women should be gentle with themselves after giving birth and not feel pressure of shedding all the weight too quickly, which can cause physical and emotional problems.’
But what about those posts from @Sarahs_Day and Rowena?
‘While I may have lost most of the weight and received comments saying I’ve snapped back, my body is a completely different shape now,’ says Rowena.
‘My boobs are wonky, my hips and ribs are wider and I doubt my belly button is ever going to return to an inny. I worked damn hard during my pregnancy to stay fit in order to make my return to work and fitness easier and I think it’s important to state that it’s not always simple to stick to a routine that requires such a high level of determination.
It breaks my heart to see such a huge focus on weight loss when the real importance should be on mental health and support during the fourth trimester.’
5 tips to survive ‘snap back’ posts on social:
1. ‘If you are someone who is prone to feelings of inadequacy on social media, take a digital detox after the birth of your baby for a couple of weeks to gain perspective.’ Stockley
2. ‘Surround yourself with real people who you can be honest and real with and with whom you can have conversations about their own experiences and challenges at similar stages.’ Dr Bugembe
3. ‘See it as a motivator. I believe everyone can get back to a shape and health that they’re proud of, but the emphasis shouldn’t be on how quickly they achieve that. Post pregnancy weight loss should be sustainable with a focus on how to maintain a routine during such a new time.’ Rowena
4. ‘Remember, celebrities in the public eye or influencers with personal brands built around image or wellness will often be able to call on the support of nutritionists, trainers and nannies, or have considerably more financial means or time in their schedule to devote to fitness. This makes it much easier to get back in shape quickly, compared to the average woman.’ Nekonam
Read Move:: Weight gain after pregnancy – BabyCenter
5. ‘Just enjoy your baby. A body that has carried, nurtured and delivered a child has done something amazing and should be celebrated and kept healthy as it recovers.’ Dr Bugembe
What is a Healthy Way to Lose Weight after Giving Birth?
A healthy rate of weight loss for most women, including post-natal mums, is around 0.5kg- 1kg per week (not including the initial drop from the loss of fluids and the amniotic sac).
Remember that only you will know when you feel ready to return to the gym but, when you do, it is important to first get clearance from a medical professional to do so. Ease into your workouts – your body is likely to be tired and let yourself rest and recovery not only between sessions, but also during them.
But, the question you really want the answer for? What does a workout after giving birth look like? We asked the experts.
Your step-by-step guide to losing weight after giving birth
1. Get educated
‘Read up properly on the changes your body has gone through,’ says Stockley. ‘Diastasis recti, pelvic floor changes and your hormones. This will help you better understand what your body needs from training.’
2. Focus on nutrition
‘Eat nutrient-dense meals,’ says Nekonam. ‘Think plenty of protein for recovery and repair, healthy fats for hormonal health and good carbs for energy. Highly processed “junk” foods should be limited and don’t forget to hydrate.’
3. Swap HIIT for NEAT
‘NEAT is massively overlooked yet it is a powerful fat-loss tool,’ says Nekonam. ‘It stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis and it is the total amount of calories you burn from non-exercise related activity such as walking.
Being active throughout the day will have a much bigger impact on energy expenditure and therefore weight loss than going to the gym for a 60-minute workout then remaining sedentary for the rest of the day. Build up slowly to 10,000 steps per day.’
4. Target your core – and floor
‘I recommend a workout with a combination of stability work to engage the pelvic floor and core,’ says Stockley.
‘It should also contain resistance training to promote muscular strength and tone plus cardio work that is safe for the postnatal body, to promote energy and increased fitness levels. Aim to do your pelvic floor exercises every day.’
5. Listen to your body
‘Take note of your energy levels and fatigue,’ says Stockley. ‘If, for example, you’ve had a broken night’s sleep, maybe a sweaty workout isn’t what you’re after.
A restorative yoga flow might be more what you need. Having a new baby is physically draining and in order for your body function optimally, you need it to be strong and energised. Exercise is hugely beneficial for this – when done mindfully.’
6. Snack sensibly
‘Breastfeeding causes the body to hang on to those extra fat stores in order to provide the body with the extra energy it needs to do the job,’ says Launder. ‘So, remember to have healthy snacks on hand to fuel your breastfeeding rather than the chocolate bars and biscuits that are often the easy go-to snack.
This way, whenever you decide to stop breastfeeding, you’ll have less additional fat to lose.’
7. Lose weight for the right reasons
‘I am more in love with my body now than I have ever been and my perceptions of beauty have changed,’ says Rowena. ‘This is all down to the fact that I am now in awe of what the female body can do.
I no longer care about abs or a flat tummy – instead my goal is to be a badass mum for my daughter. I want to show her just what I’m capable of and to teach her that true body confidence isn’t about being a particular size or shape but feeling happy in your skin.’
GenzVn.Net invites you to see more Too much weight loss after pregnancy best and most true